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Appian Sales: Curious and transparent at every level

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What stands out about the Appian Sales team culture? We asked our Sales team and heard how culture comes through in everyday team meetings, feedback from customers, and when faced with big challenges ahead.
When talking about the Sales team culture, a few words kept coming up: 

  • Openness and transparency — not hearing things through the grapevine 
  • Curiosity and willingness to say “I don’t know” 
  • Collaborative and celebratory, even with the small wins

To hear what these traits look like in action, we asked two Sales team members, Kristen and Drew, to share how they’ve experienced the Sales team culture in their everyday work and throughout their career growth with Appian. 

Meet Kristen Rosenfeld 

  • Senior Manager, Business Development
  • Located in Washington DC 
  • Joined Appian in 2018

First impressions matter: Why Appian stood out from my first interview 

I joined Appian three years ago and I still talk about how impressed I was with the candidate experience and my first interview. I left that first job interview feeling confident and inspired by the really friendly people. I was also shocked at how helpful they were as they clearly wanted me to do well. They were great listeners, asked about my goals, and what growth opportunities I was interested in on the Sales team and beyond.

That first experience before I even joined Appian has been representative of what I’ve found here — the people are dedicated to setting you up for success right from the start. I found great mentors, built great friendships, and always feel supported. Especially through challenges, people are willing to step up and help,  all coming from a good place. 

Bringing curiosity to the customer

We’re always looking for curious people to join the Sales team, who bring an eagerness to learn about our product, domain, and our customers. We work really collaboratively with other departments like Marketing, so we are a team of people not afraid to ask questions! Internally and externally, that’s a part of our culture as well, being curious from the start and creating a safe environment where it’s okay to say “I don’t know.”

We’re selling a platform that helps businesses run more effectively, through simplifying and automating their processes. It’s an exciting position to be learning so much about how companies work from across industries, like financial services, insurance, public sector and healthcare. 

Bringing that curious and innovative mindset to our clients’ challenges is really celebrated on the Sales team. For example, one pharmaceutical customer this year was working on vaccine distribution and working with Appian to improve their processes to make it more efficient. It was super interesting to learn about, and our team brought questions and curiosity to the customer to better understand the challenges and to provide meaningful solutions.

Connecting online and off 

My team was based at our HQ in Washington D.C., but transitioning to remote work during the pandemic really showed the importance of our team supporting each other, being adaptable, and finding new ways to connect and collaborate. 

On my team I manage Business Development Representatives, many of which are fresh out of college and making a transition to tech sales. Early in your career it’s especially important to be able to have peer learning opportunities and feel belonging on your team. With this in mind, I made sure to over-communicate and check-in with my team members on how they were actually doing, both personally and professionally this past year. 

We were deliberate about setting up peer to peer learning opportunities and bringing new team members into group meetings where they can learn from different Sales teams with varied domain expertise.

No win is too small to celebrate 

Celebrating small wins publicly is also super important — like a new rep’s first call with a customer, or booking a meeting with a C-suite level person. We’re often reaching out to execs at the world’s largest company, so having your first few calls is a big deal! The Sales team is great at getting excited for each other, and recognizing it’s always a joint effort and ensuring people feel valued for all they're bringing to the team. 

And we made sure to have some fun along the way too! In terms of team building events we’ve hosted Friendsgivings, and recently got together for a Washington Nationals game in person.  In terms of virtual team building events, we’ve gotten creative with online cooking classes, a wine tasting, and a murder mystery party. 

Online and off, I’m really proud of our team, and every person who contributes to our culture of collaboration, and in Sales especially I’ve found that such an important part of how we work. 

Meet Drew Ferrara

  • Regional Vice President of Sales
  • Located in New York
  • Joined Appian in 2019

Transparency with good and bad news

When I first joined Appian and met with Sales team leaders, one thing that stood out to me was their openness and transparency. Now, I know a lot of companies say they’re transparent, but Appian actually follows through on that. We’re not afraid to share the good and bad news, and take on challenges to work through solutions together.

It’s not just about speaking to the wins and glossing over the losses, it means being open about what’s working and not working and using it as a learning opportunity. You don’t hear stuff through the grapevine here. At every level throughout the organization, we pride ourselves on openness and transparency. It’s allowed me to be an upfront leader and that’s really helped me succeed at Appian, knowing that I can be genuine and authentic with my team. It’s refreshing and a big part of what I value in a winning Sales culture.

Recognition is the cornerstone of our team’s success

Recognition is key here, from quarterly meetings where we celebrate achievements, to incorporating shout-outs into team meetings for the first time an Account Executive who runs a great discovery call, or hearing positive feedback about a customer meeting. In an Enterprise sale, you need to find the small wins along the way that contribute to the ultimate success when you win the deal. 

In Sales you’re constantly learning and being curious to accelerate and refine your craft. We also celebrate things we’ve learned, and share these across departments with the many teams we collaborate with, like Solution Consultants, Business Development, the Support team and industry leads. Mutual success is celebrated at Appian and I pride myself on how our team collaborates with their peers both inside and outside of the sales team.   

We also get creative with recognition! When my reps hit their quota, I send them a LEGO trophy.  Appian does something similar to celebrate our customer go-lives with LEGO’s so I thought it would be fun.  Although we’re in an online world, sometimes physical reminders are a nice prop to have on your desk, and the LEGO has been a big hit.  It’s also been fun for people’s “co-working buddies” as we’re working from home — my five-year old also loves it! 

 
Caption: Tommy Fu, an Account Executive on my team with his LEGO trophy!

Be a part of our growth story 

If you take a step back and look, Appian is truly a leader in the market. We have great customers who love our solutions, great employees who are eager to support one another, and we’re continuing to grow! We’re able to achieve this growth, whether we’re working remotely or in the office, because we’ve maintained this strong Sales team culture of collaboration and openness.

We’re often celebrating 10 or even 20 year work anniversaries at Appian, and there’s a reason for that, a strong culture.  There’s tremendous opportunities for growth and advancement.  We’re a leader in a market that continues to grow year over year, with a strong product and customers that continue to trust and invest with us.  When people ask why Appian, I tell them about the supportive, collaborative and winning culture they’d be part of.  It’s an exciting time to be in our industry and a chance to be part of our growth story as we continue to scale.  Who wouldn’t want to join that?

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If this sounds like a team culture you’re interested in being part of, you’re in luck as we’re hiring! Check out our career opportunities on the Sales careers page